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#12

in Affordable Midsize SUVs

MSRP: $29,215 - $43,590
Invoice: $26,673 - $39,798
MPG: 20 City / 25 Hwy
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Toyota Highlander Interior

Reviewers think that the redesigned 2014 Toyota Highlander has an attractively designed cabin that’s built with high-quality materials. Test drivers say that the first- and second-row seats are roomy and comfortable, and the third row is spacious enough for adults on short trips, though only suitable for children on longer outings. Critics also like the easy-to-use infotainment system and the wide array of cabin storage spaces, especially the new catch-all shelf under the dashboard.

  • "The 2014 Highlander makes extensive use of soft-touch materials-which look and feel much more upscale-and it has a new three-spoke steering wheel and a classier, more informative gauge cluster." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "Inside, the cabin is fitted with appealing materials in available two-tone color combinations, and many surfaces are padded." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Toyota is taking a more upscale approach to the interior with additional soft-touch and premium materials." -- Cars.com
  • "Toyota has made a number of improvements to the Highlander's interior, including increased spaciousness along with a number of comfort and convenience features." -- Autoblog

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Seating

The 2014 Toyota Highlander seats eight people in three rows, or seven with optional second-row captain’s chairs. The Highlander comes standard with cloth upholstery and a tilt and telescoping steering wheel. Options include leather upholstery, heated and ventilated front seats and an eight-way, power-adjustable driver’s seat. Automotive journalists say that head-, shoulder- and legroom is excellent in the front seats, and they say the second-row seats are also comfortable. Critics think the third row has enough space for adults on short trips, though they say that only children will be comfortable back there on longer drives.

  • "Up front, head, shoulder and legroom are superb. The second row, which comes in the form of either a three-person bench seat or two captain's chairs, is also nice and comfortable." -- Autoblog
  • "We maneuvered our five-foot, nine-inch frame back there, and the third row is indeed tolerable even for an adult, though for longer trips this row should be limited to younger children." -- Automobile Magazine

Interior Features

The 2014 Toyota Highlander’s standard features include a backup camera, a six-speaker audio system, Bluetooth phone and music streaming, a USB port and an infotainment system with a 6.1-inch touch-screen display. Available features include a panoramic moonroof, navigation, a 12-speaker JBL audio system, a rear-seat Blu-Ray entertainment system, lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control and blind spot monitoring.

Some reviewers say the Highlander’s touch-screen infotainment system has crisp graphics and  an intuitive menu structure, though others write that it takes multiple steps to accomplish a given task. Test drivers like that Toyota has kept climate controls separate from the touch screen, though some think that the audio controls are hard for drivers to reach. Several test drivers say that one of their favorite features is the new Driver Easy Speak system, which amplifies the driver’s voice through the speakers in the back of the Highlander, making it easier to communicate with people in the back rows.

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  • "Still, the Toyota interface sometimes requires multiple touches to get the system to do what you want; once you adjust, it's easy to toggle through the screens for tasks like setting the navigation system. There are also plenty of old-fashioned, easy-to-use knobs for things like temperature control." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "It's a good system, all in all. I experienced minimal lag when navigating between menus and the graphics are much better than those on many other systems." -- Autoblog (infotainment system)
  • "It also gets the secondary rearview mirror to check on the kids, in addition to Driver Easy Speak, which allows the driver to talk through an amplifying microphone to the passengers in the last row. My co-driver and I had plenty of fun yelling at our imaginary kids: ‘Shut up back there or we'll turn this Highlander around!’" -- AutoWeek
  • "All climate controls are within easy reach, but some audio controls are a stretch." -- Consumer Guide

Cargo

The 2014 Toyota Highlander has 13.8 cubic feet of cargo space behind the third-row seats, 42.3 cubic feet behind the second-row seats and 83.7 cubic feet behind the front seats. Many three-row SUVs in the class offer more space behind the third row, and competitors like the Mazda CX-9 and Chevrolet Traverse also offer more overall cargo space. Critics say that the third-row seats fold easily, and are impressed with the amount of storage spaces around the cabin. They include a large glovebox, a sizeable center console bin and a large shelf under the dash that test drivers say provides a convenient place to store loose items. A height-adjustable power liftgate is available, and automotive journalists say the height adjustment makes it easy for shorter people to use.

  • "Storage is terrific, with a good-size glovebox, a huge two-tiered console box, two cupholders and a forward console bin (the latter with USB/aux/12-volt jacks), a drop-down left-side bin, and a handy (and unusual) mid-level dash tray." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Storage space is abundant throughout the cabin and a cavernous center console can swallow at least 58 standard size juice boxes." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "At least the third row can easily fold down in a 60/40 split and there's a one-touch power liftgate with selectable memory height settings, a super feature for people of shorter stature." -- Autoblog
  • "Of particular note is the large shelf that runs across the bottom two-thirds of the dashboard, a totally handy place to stick your cell phone(s), sunglasses, wallet, power bars, receipts, etc. Toyota won't love hearing this, but the shelf is far and away the best part of the new Highlander. Every car should come so equipped." -- Motor Trend
Review Last Updated: 5/14/14

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